By Franklin A. Eneh, Clark University, Chinese teacher: Ya-chen Chen
(Franklin A. Eneh is a contestant of the Third Annual “Chinese Bridge” University Student Chinese Speech Contest in New England Area. He gave this speech in Chinese on March 23 at UMass Boston.)
Before studying abroad in China I was full of expectations. Through studying hard in China I gradually raised my Chinese level. I was once very adamant about speaking Chinese every day. My life upon arriving to China was very pleasant. In this environment very different from the U.S., I learned a lot about Chinese culture and also made many friends from different countries to the point where I felt reluctant to leave. It was the first time I ever enjoyed carefree living. In the midst of this wonderful new experience I transitioned from being rather introverted and shy to becoming very open and optimistic.
Franklin recites a Chinese poem at the talent show portion of the contest.
||However this intense euphoria didn’t last very long. As my time in China went on I lost my initial excitement over everything feeling fresh and new. It might be that our moods are subject to changes in weather, for some reason when autumn came I was swept with a feeling of loneliness. I would miss my family my friends. I started to regret choosing to study aboard in China. This homesickness almost progressed to an unbearable state. In such an emotional state I lost sight of my goals. All of this seemed to have a big affect on my studies and personal life.|
Everyday I would try to correct my mistakes, but there almost seemed to be no good sign, and actually I would feel like my Chinese was getting worse, I wanted to give up.
There were several days when I didn’t want to do anything but lie on my bed and nestle under my covers. At that time my roommate asked me, “ Franklin, what’s wrong? What happened?” I replied to him saying, “I suddenly lost confidence, I already 21 years old and as soon as I get back home I will graduate. But I still feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. I don’t even want to speak Chinese. I am so afraid of the future, and I feel at a lost.”
||Then he turned and said to me, “Look at how nervous you are, don’t worry, you came all the way from the U.S. to China is already amazing. Although you feel like you haven’t gained anything, but in this short time you have unknowingly learned a lot. You have already prepared 99% if you add 1% of hard work and you will realize it’s no big deal. Don’t ever give up because when there’s a will there’s a way.
I look forward to myself speaking fluent Chinese, bravely facing every setback, crossing over many barriers, and every time I come across difficulty I will shout at myself “I can do it!”